Augustine once said, “God has promised forgiveness to the repentant, but He has not promised tomorrow to those who delay repentance.” This is a sobering truth--a much needed reminder that we are called to repent of our sin as soon as God has convicted us of it. It is also a sobering truth in so much as it relays the fact that God does not owe us life or forgiveness. He can do with us whatever He wants at any time (Deut. 32:39). When we come to terms with this fact, we fall on our faces and cry out with the Psalmist, "Do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no one living is righteous" (Ps. 143:2). We cling to Christ crucified and risen and cry out with the Psalmist, "If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared" (Ps. 130:3-4). This is not something that must happen just one time in our life. We must do this throughout the totality of our short lives until we are with Christ in glory.
Sadly, we so often act just like the Israelites--seeing God's glorious works and yet rebelling against Him time and time again. In Numbers 14, we have one of the most instructive examples of Israel's rebellion and God's mercy. The people were murmuring against Moses and Aaron (i.e. God's appointed ministers)--though they were really complaining against the Lord. The Lord asked Moses, "How long will these people...
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